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ADHD and Sports

Motor skill and ADHD

My 8 years son is very clumsy and very bad at different kind of exercise. For example, he has been learning swimming ever since 5, but he still doesn’t know how to freestyle swim. His motor skills are not good. Does anyone know how to train?


Hallo. it seems to listen to my son’s skills. We finally found a very good teacher and now he is playing judo since 3 years. The best of a very good teacher is being able to bring out the best of someone. We have been lucky meeting him. Playing this sport gives him a special support increasing his self estime. Since I have began to speak people -being in contact with my son- about his fragility, I found comprehension and their will to help. I think this is the first step to walk. Monica from Italy

Posted by Monica Italia on Jul 01, 2014 at 5:22pm

Hi change_ADD!

Trouble with fine and gross motor skills is fairly common for kids with ADHD. I have found that occupational therapy helps immensely with this.

You can find more tips and strategies for working on motor skills in these articles:

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 02, 2014 at 12:37am

Thank you both!

Posted by Change_Add on Jul 02, 2014 at 7:44am

My 9 year old son has adhd and is also very clumsy and not athletically inclined.  Living in a community where sports are everything, he is having trouble fitting in.  All his friends are now excelling in one sport or another.  He used to like baseball even though not very good at it, but his friends are getting more and more focused on the game, and when he is not he starts to annoy them, which in turn matkes them tease him.  Bad cycle.  Swimming lessons have been a struggle, but at least now he is not fighting them.  Would a sport like tennis or other solo sport be better than a group team sport?  anything we can do to improve motor skills?  It’s getting to the point where he “hates” sports bc he knows its a challenge for him, and the only thing he enjoys is video games (which we restrict during the day) and lego.  IT just seems sad.  Help please

Posted by Topanga49er on Jul 04, 2014 at 12:39am

My husband and I (both have ADHD) were very clumsy as kids. As a matter of fact, my nickname was clumsy. Somehow, we found our athleticism when we found our confidence. He found his stride in sports in late middle school and I found mine at age 22! When my son with ADHD was younger, it was so painful to watch him play basketball that I have to step away during matches. He chose to join a league and the coach would say to other children as motivation “come on guys, even he can do it!” When he made the only basket in two years of playing, the audience stood up and my husband and neighbor cried. The problem with group sports I think is that it requires social skills, confidence, assertiveness and drive. ADHDers are constantly asked to modulate their strength or told to stop, I think my son is not sure of himself as he moves among groups. My husband who is a professional coach assuaged my fears and told me to wait. He is 13 now and is a better than average athlete, but not in the sports that most younger kids gravitate toward. He is a triathlete, long jumper, parkourer and advance fencer. These are sports he chose and none are group sports. So my suggestion is expose your son to many different sports. Different sports attract different personalities. Once he find like minded friends, he may enjoy the sports more.

Posted by Cleung339 on Jul 08, 2014 at 11:58am

Hi Topanga49er, your son has exactly the same situation as my son. I used to sign him for soccer and he ended up standing in field for three sections. I gave up. Then I let him play Taekwondo. He still didn’t like it. but at least it is not a team work sport that need social skills. Also it is good for motor skill improving. SO far he does’t complain.
Tennis is hard for my son. When he hold it, he couldn’t even make it strike the ball. He was very frustrated with tennis and so far I didn’t make him try again.
My impression is that solo games like Taekwondo and swimming is better than team sports for ADHD kids.

Posted by Change_Add on Jul 10, 2014 at 2:07am

I, too, struggle with this Topanga49er.  My son just turned 10, and struggles significantly with sports.  We live in a very sports oriented community, where the children who excel in sports are the “popular” ones.  My son has tried many things, but gets frustrated at his lack of skill and focus, and ultimately quits. He also struggles with finding friends, I feel mainly due to the fact he is not involved on any local teams (be it soccer, swimming etc).  At this point I honestly just want him to fit in somewhere, as he really needs a boost of confidence.  I was hoping things would get better as he got older, unfortunately I’m finding he’s becoming more socially isolated.  I definitely agree that individual sports (karate, swimming etc) are the way to go though…

Posted by jmcg on Jul 30, 2014 at 6:05pm

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